(Orem, Utah) -- It’s challenging to create a holiday story that earns iconic status and is seen year after year. Among others, that short list includes “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Christmas Carol,” Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Story”—and “Elf.”

“Elf,” which launched as a successful movie in 2003, has been converted into a musical that is becoming a festive favorite. SCERA is presenting the show for its holiday production November 29 to December 14 @ 7:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem.

Enter below to win a giveaway for the performance on Wednesday, December 4th! The winner will be chosen and notified the week of Thanksgiving and can pick up their tickets at will call the night of the performance.

Veteran director Michael Carrasco loves directing musicals during the Christmas season. “I am thrilled to be involved,” Carrasco says. “’Elf’ is a warm, loving story that really brings out our inner child.” And of course it will make audiences smile, for as Buddy the Elf’s famous line says “Smiling’s my favorite!”

“Elf” is the story of Buddy, who as an orphaned baby, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole and raised as an elf. The role has become identified with actor Will Ferrell. “And because only Will can play Will,” Carrasco says he told Eric Smith, who plays his Buddy, that he had free rein and go as free and wide as he wanted. “Eric has made the role his own. He captures Buddy’s wide-eyed innocence and has created a character with few boundaries. “He really colors outside the box.” Eric is even brave enough to literally eat the famous spaghetti with candy and syrup from one of the movie’s most iconic scenes!

The story roughly follows the movie and the same characters and story arc. The biggest difference is that this is a musical with upbeat singing and dancing that enhances the story, including “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” and “Happy All The Time.”

Tickets for “Elf The Musical” at $14 for adults and $12 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and older are available at www.scera.org, by calling 801-225-ARTS, or in person at the main office at SCERA Center (745 S. State St., Orem), open 10:00am-6:00pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12:00noon-6:00pm.

"Elf the Musical" at SCERA      Buddy the Elf from SCERA's "Elf the Musical"

Added to the show’s schedule are two evenings called Theatre Talkbacks. SCERA is partnering with Utah Theatre Bloggers Association to host a post-show discussion and Q&A with moderator Tori Gurr, where members of the cast and creative members will share behind the scenes insights. These free talkbacks will follow the shows on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and Wednesday, Dec. 11. 

“It is one of the most technical shows I have done in a long time,” Carrasco explains. “In the story, Santa’s sleigh is powered by Christmas spirit; we have to make a sleigh appear to fly—and SCERA is absolutely going to do it. Our set designer Shawn Mortensen wanted to show off New York in December, so he not only added snow onstage but an ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center as well. But we’re using roller blades instead of ice skates.”

The production complements the tour-de-force character of Buddy, who is unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit it with his fellow elves. When Buddy learns he is human, he embarks on a journey to find Walter Hobbs, his real father. Hobbs is a hard-bitten children’s book publisher played by Patrick Brannelly, who has a passing resemblance to Scrooge. He also finds a half-brother who doesn’t believe in Christmas, and a cynical city that has forgotten the messages of love, family and brotherhood. Even Buddy’s infectious spirit is challenged as he faces some harsh realities trying to get his father off the naughty list and infusing the world with a sense of joy. But never fear, you will be filled with Christmas spirit when Buddy exuberantly explains that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

Other major cast members include Jim Murphy, who plays both Santa Claus and Mr. Greenway, Walter Hobbs’ boss; Elisha Garrett as Jovie, Buddy’s love interest; Becca Hardman as Emily Hobbs; Maxwell Warren as Michael Hobbs; and Shannon Follette as Deb, Mr. Hobbs’ secretary.

Assisting Carrasco are Allison Books as music director. Choreographer Chantelle Wells has put together some creative group numbers, including the “sad Santas” from the department store dancing on their Santa sacks that are actually bouncy yoga balls in a song called “Nobody Cares About Santa.”

Kelsey Seaver is costume designer; Elizabeth Griffiths is lighting designer; Christy Norton is props designer; and Danielle Berry is stage manager. 

“’Elf’ has a wonderful message, but it’s so much fun,” Carrasco adds. “We learn that Christmas spirit can be felt many ways: in a Chinese restaurant filled with Santas, by eating cold spaghetti with friends, during a snowball fight and more. It’s fun to have a show where you can laugh and giggle. I have directed five Christmas shows for SCERA, and I applaud the SCERA team for presenting a different show each year, so people can enjoy many of the wonderful holiday stories out there. ‘Elf’ is one of the best.”

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APRIL BERLIN

Operations Manager/Marketing & Development

SCERA Center for the Arts

745 South State, Orem, UT 84058